Ambassador Krzysztof Krajewski visited Kaliningrad for the first time since the start of his mission in Moscow. He assessed that the cross-border cooperation between Poland and the Kaliningrad Oblast has brought tangible results and is very positively assessed by the Russian side. Before his visit to Kaliningrad, Ambassador Krajewski met in Moscow with the head of the region’s representation to the Russian government, Denis Salij.
Ambassador Krzysztof Krajewski, who is visiting the Kaliningrad Oblast for the first time since the start of his mission in Moscow in March, emphasized that this region bordering Poland “plays a special role due to its location”. He also recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic caused restrictions in movement and interpersonal contacts.
As he reported, during his visit to Kaliningrad, he noticed the importance of “Polish presence in this region, including the presence of the European Union, and the implementation of joint cross-border cooperation projects that brought tangible results”. This cooperation “is very positively assessed by representatives of the Russian authorities,” he added.
The ambassador talks in Kaliningrad about the prospects of cross-border cooperation
On Sunday, the ambassador talked about the prospects of cross-border cooperation with the governor of the Kaliningrad Oblast, Anton Alikhanov, which, in his opinion, was “a very specific conversation”. “We must remember that the complicated political issues that exist in Polish-Russian relations do not and should not affect this neighborly cooperation between the Kaliningrad Oblast and Poland” – indicated the diplomat.
Krajewski also talked with the governor about the issue of traveling between Poland and Russia. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s borders with Poland have been closed to tourists for a year and a half.
– I emphasized that we are awaiting the decision of the Russian authorities to include Poland on the list of European Union countries whose citizens, regardless of the reason for their arrival, will be able to apply for free entry to the Russian Federation. I pointed out that the Polish Consulate General in Kaliningrad is ready to naturally issue visas, in accordance with the applicable rules, for Russian citizens who are extremely interested in traveling to Poland – reported the diplomat.
The topic of the local border traffic (LBT) between Poland and the Kaliningrad Oblast, suspended by Poland in 2016, “was signaled” – indicated Ambassador Krajewski. He stressed, however, that in an interview with the governor, he first drew attention to the possibility of traveling between Poland and Russia. – The issue of LBT is a matter of a certain process that requires unfrozen traffic, so it is difficult to make any declarations about LBT if a Polish citizen cannot visit, for example, Moscow for the weekend – he noted.
The ambassador met in Kaliningrad with the authorities and students of the Baltic Federal University of Immanuel Kant; there is a Polish language course at this university. “The Russian side wants the Polish language to be present at the university” – emphasized the diplomat. He noted that he asked the governor to facilitate the entry of Polish language teachers who, also due to pandemic reasons, i.e. closing the borders, still cannot conduct classes in person.
The Kaliningrad Oblast, neighboring EU countries – Poland and Lithuania – “draws a lot from joint EU-Russia programs in the sphere of infrastructure or city shaping – even in terms of urban planning”, and cultural and scientific exchange is “the basis on which to build very positive relations” with this region – pointed out Krajewski.
– I was very happy to hear how well these border relations are developing, and so far these visits on both sides – representatives of Polish and Russian authorities – were well perceived – he reported. He mentioned that he attended a mass attended exclusively by Russians in Kaliningrad, and when he was introduced as the Polish ambassador, the response was applause. It was “extremely touching” and “also shows the attitude towards our country” – said the diplomat.
The ambassador met with Poles in Kaliningrad
The ambassador met on Monday in Kaliningrad with the heads of Polish diaspora organizations operating in this region of Russia adjacent to Poland. He stressed the importance of the cooperation of his countrymen “scattered in various parts of the Russian Federation”.
He stressed that the Polish diaspora can “strengthen diplomatic activities with social and spiritual activity” and called for community building, because “without community, solidarity and unity it has no effect”.
Main photo source: Twitter / PLinRussia